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Rural Iowa dealing with barriers to recycling options

Posted at 6:02 PM, Apr 27, 2021

RED OAK, Iowa. (KMTV) - City-dwellers or suburban homeowners might take recycling collections for granted, but rural areas do not have as many options.

While the city of Red Oak offers recycling bins for people, resident Jennifer Horner says that is not enough.

"It's not the best, we could do a lot better. There are towns our size that provide curbside recycling and curbside garbage pick up. We don't do either one of those things," Horner said.

Horner says the solution is simple: curbside recycling.

"I don't feel like the city's doing enough towards that effort," Horner said. "Again, I've made presentations to the city several times and offered suggestions and solutions and other towns who are doing it, for them to reach out. I don't think any of that's been done."

City Administrator Brad Wright says the city has always considered curbside recycling in the past but it's not easy to implement.

"It's always an expensive option, unfortunately, for small towns. It's a challenge sometimes. We'll continue to look at that, and that may be something we try to take on at some point in the future," Wright said.

Wright believes his community does what it needs to.

"I think the people that want to recycle, recycle," Wright said. "Our bins are very heavily used, the people that want to recycle are using that now."

Still, Horner wants to emphasize more options will improve quality of life.

"Does it make you feel good about where you are living and how you're treating the Earth which we are all a part of?" Horner said. "I don't see any separation between humans and the environment."

Wright tells 3 News Now he is in the process of scheduling both a household hazardous waste collection event and an electronic recycling event.